Google Launches Wikipedia Competitor
- By Peter Varhol
More and more these days, I find myself using Wikipedia as a source of information.
However, it now has a competitor
in the form of "knol,"
a new concept from Google. Knol, which
is Google's shorthand for "unit of knowledge," is in the concept-and-development
stage, and should be available for general use some time next year.
For now, submissions are by invitation-only, but Google said it will eventually
publish articles by a wider variety of authors. Knol author names will be displayed,
and authors will be able to participate in revenue-sharing with Google based
on advertising and page views for their contributions.
Are you interested in participating for the chance of profit, or for the chance
to spread your knowledge? Clue me in at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Microsoft Update Causes IE Issues
After my Windows XP system installed its security updates last week, my Internet
Explorer started crashing randomly, for no apparent reason (four times today
so far). Turns out I'm not alone. In the Microsoft support forums, others are
reporting software crashes and, in some cases, a lack
of browser functionality after installing update MS07-069.
The IE 6/IE 7 update purportedly addressed four flaws, all rated "critical"
for Windows 2000, XP and Vista but "moderate" for Windows Server 2003.
Three of the flaws are memory corruption bugs in the browsers, while the fourth
is in IE's rendering of pages that include Dynamic HTML code.
Microsoft has promised to investigate and address this problem, but others
have said that the best and most expedient way to fix it is to uninstall that
Have you had any problems with this month's security patches? Tell me at email@example.com.
The Transistor Approaches Retirement Age?
It hasn't quite hit 65 -- or my own target retirement age of 66 years and 6
months, for that matter -- but it's aging nonetheless: The transistor this week
its 60th birthday.
On Dec. 16, 1947, scientists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain created the first
transistor. The following month, William Shockley, a member of the same research
group, created another design that became the preferred transistor because it
was easier to manufacture.
In more recent years, the viability of the transistor has depended on the ability
of the manufacturing process to keep shrinking the size of the components. Possible
future technologies include quantum computing and optical switches.
Do you see other technologies overtaking the transistor? Send in your prognostication
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university